For a 250,000-square-foot airplane hangar at Piedmont Triad International (PTI) Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, HAECO Americas, an aircraft repair and maintenance company, needed a building where walls don’t block out the sun.

The company chose Ghafari Associates to help with design and contractor selection, BRPH to serve as its architect of record, and BE&K Building Group to be the design-build contractor. The latter chose to collaborate with manufacturer Extech on the shelter’s energy-efficient daylighting solution.

Because the facility supports up to 500 technicians, the client wanted to provide as much light as possible without adding obstructing fixtures. A solution was to incorporate Extech’s LIGHTWALL 3440 interlocking polycarbonate translucent wall system as part of the building envelope’s upper portion. Extech engineered, fabricated, and installed the more than 26,600 square feet of the opal-color cellular- polycarbonate, aluminum-framed panels. The team created clerestory sections at its corners and in three doors to reduce energy use and heat gain. Best of all, the windows’ placement overhead allows HAECO workers to really maximize daylighting as they work on Boeing 777s and Airbus A-350s. A bonus is the fact that the insulating glazing cuts solar heat gain for better indoor temperature control.

Outside, the panels’ diffusing characteristics also reduce light pollution from the building itself, and can resist 99 percent of UV radiation. “This grows our footprint in the Triad as a player in the rising aerospace sector,” said HAECO Americas’ CEO Richard Kendall. Given that the hangar can hold eight narrow-body aircraft simultaneously, few would disagree with him.